tv CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield CNN June 6, 2015 8:00am-9:01am PDT
indeed shall i want ♪ ♪ surely kindness and kindness will follow me ♪ ♪ all the days of my life ♪ ♪ in my lord's own house shall i dwell ♪ ♪ forever and ever ♪ ♪ >> the oldest son of vice president joe biden, beau biden, something remembered this morning in wilmington delaware. these are live pictures you're watching coming from the church. which is st. anthony of padua, roman catholic church. where mourners are paying their respects. two the two-time delaware attorney general. more seats have been added to the church to try to take in all who wish to be there. cnn national correspondent
sunlen serfaty is there and she joins us now live. sunlen? >> incredibly moving moment already, seen just moments ago, the entire biden family arrived just outside of the church and wait painfully with each step as beau biden's casket was slowly and delicately brought into this church. it was first draped in a red, white and blue american flag. delicately folded. the entire family making their way into the funeral. we will hear not only this musical selection, but we also will hear from chris martin the lead singer of coldplay. he will sing during the course of the funeral, we're told that he was a favorite singer of beau biden. the family apparently did not ask coldplay's lead singer to come out directly. he found out from a family friend volunteered to come here for this funeral today. certainly will be an emotional moment throughout the funeral as well as the eulogy of president
obama. he took a very personal role in writing those remarks. >> sunlen thank you very much. let's go back to the service now. >> a tent should be destroyed. we have a building from god. a dwelling not made with hands, eternal in heaven. we are always courageous. although we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the lord. for we walk by faith, not by sight. yet, we are courageous. the word of the lord. >> thanks be to god.
♪ ♪ ♪ lord ♪ ♪ alleluia ♪ ♪ alleluia ♪ ♪ alleluia ♪ >> the lord be with you. >> and with your spirit. >> a reading from the holy gospel according to john. >> glory to you, lord. >> now when jesus came to bethany. he found that lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. bethany was near jerusalem, about two miles off.
and many of the jews had come to martha and mary to console them concerning their brother. when martha heard that jesus was coming she went and met him. while mary sat in the house. martha said to jesus, lord if you had been here my brother would not have died. and even now i know that whatever you ask from god, god will give you. jesus said to her your brother will rise again. martha said to him, i know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day. jesus said to her i am the resurrection and the life. whoever believes in me though the person die, yet shall the person live. and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. do you believe this she said to
him? yes, lord. i believe that you are the christ the son of god, who is coming into the world. the gospel of the lord. >> praise to you, lord jesus christ. >> hallie dearest natalie and hunter. joe and jill. hunter and kathleen ashley and howard. your eminence cardinal mccarrick your excellency bishop egan. and your excellency bishop malully. reverend wright rabbi beals, reverend beamen reverend jones, president obama, general odierno, the many other
dignitaries and public servant who is are here, dear friends all. the reaction has been universal. whether you were a friend of beau biden's or knew him only from the press, how sad. how very, very sad. it's heart-breaking. when i heard the news i wept. this great young man, this spl splendid son, this devoted deeply loving husband and father as true a brother as anyone could ever have this peerlessly patriotic public servant, gone. gone. gone. it was, is like the night of good friday. the one we hoped in counted on
thought our future has been taken from us. how do you say good-bye to the finest man any of us have ever known? first i think we face the loss. the fact that we have lost the handsome winning humble presence of an incomparable gift. is the richness of that gift is the measure of our grief. the nobler a man is the more he is praised and even revered. but the truly noble man, the righteous man of the book of wisdom knows that the one to be praised and indeed worshipped is not himself, but his creator. the ground and goal of his life. for all his sense of responsibility and commitment he knows that he did not invent
himself, but was given life and a world to fulfill it in by a loving lord. only at the end of the life can he or his lord or indeed any of us make a full accounting of its achievement. whether young or old that are dying, it is only then that we can say of the life we have been given and of all those, we have loved within the gift take it now, lord. it was your gift all my family and friends and public service were your gift as well. take them now. >> take them now. and enfold them in your mercy, lead us home. you alone know fully the grace that accompany your gift. as surely as beau biden knelt at night to fray with his wife and
children whether in these words or some like them he knew the words of jesus on the cross. father into thigh hands i commit my spirit. words that are offered to all of us to share on the good fridays of our lives. whether in prolonged suffering like beau's or in the gradual diminishment of age, our mortal lives are gifts that must pass through the darkness of death if they are to know the splendor of eternity. in this sense, death is not extinguishing the light as the great indian poet wrote, it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come. or in the words of paul we hope that even if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a
building from god, a house not made with hands. beau's life of giving to his fellow citizens and above all to his family was dazzling as a young lawyer working for the justice department in philadelphia and also in war-torn kosovo as a member of the delaware army national guard, and a major in the judge advocate general corps, as attorney general of delaware for going to run for the united states senate because he felt it his duty to continue his mission to protect children from abuse. the watch words were honor. courage. integrity. >> my own favorite picture shows him standing before his father at an american base near baghdad on july 4th 2009 midway through his deployment in iraq. the two men known for the warmth
of their smiles are close to grim. a sense of danger and possibly worse hangs over the crew-cut son in fatigues looking into the eyes of the earnest father. there is no limit to what the protection of life may entail. nor was there for jesus. if all of life is ultimately gift how was he the gift that would redeem and fulfill the gift of our creation. how did god give us this son to reveal god's vision of the world and lead the world to god. i would prefer not to say that god give us the son to die for us. what father could possibly envisage that. rather god gave us the son, god's own word and our flesh to
live with and for us. god gave us jesus to preach the kingdom among us. a reign of reciprocity, forgiveness, healing and fulfillment. if that mission led to violent rejection by authorities, civil and religious, whom it threatened. so be it. jesus would not turn back. he remained true to his word and the very deepest sense. even to the cross. which made it possible for god once and forever to reveal the power of his forgiving love over even the cruelest death. death is so often cruel. we feel that today, when all is silence. feelings are muted, grief and mourning overtake everything.
but was gone. but from our immediate vision only. for we live now, not only after good friday and through holy saturday but in easter. and here is beau's great final gift to us. promising as he most assuredly was, his death calls us to hear again, that the gift of life entails. it is the promise first given do the jewish people that their god would never fail them. but would be faithful to them forever. it is the promise spoken by jesus to martha of bethany, after the death of her brother, lazarus. i am the resurrection and the life whoever believes in me though the person dies, yet shall the person live.
in jesus christ writes st. paul it is always yes. for all the promises of god find their yes in him. that is why we utter the amen through him, to the glory of god. in a few moments in our eucharistic prayer we will recall this mystery of our redemption. the fulfillment of the promise that attended creation from its beginning and courses through it still in the holy spirit. and for us in a special way, it becomes the promise of union with beau in the communion of saints. now and one day forever. we pray to be united now and one day forever. with a remarkable man for whom belief was not simply a view of life but engaged love.
not merely confession but commitment. not only a generalous life but the search for justice that makes friendship possible. for many of its saints the catholic church celebrates their feast on the day of the saint's death. the day of final union with god. through christ and in the holy spirit. i have little doubt that in this sense may 30th 2015 is a feast day for everyone here. we may be weeping, and may weep more. but thanks to beau this is also a time of almost unlimited grace. i pray for all of us that the gift and promise of his life may deepen our love and faith and
be acceptable to god, the almighty father. [ praying ] >> as we humbly present to you these sacrificial offerings, oh lord for the salvation of your servant, beau we submit your mercy that he did not doubt your son to be a loving savior my find in him merciful judge who lives and reigns forever and ever, amen.
>> the lord be with you. >> and with your spirit. >> lift up your hearts. >> we lift them up to the lord. >> let us give thanks to the lord our god. >> it is right and just. >> it is truly right and just our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks lord holy father almighty and eternal god, through christ our lord. in him the hope of blessed resurrection has dawned. that those saddened by the certainty of dying might be consoled by the promise of immortality to come. indeed for your faithful lord life has changed, not ended. and when this earthly dwelling turns to dust and eternal dwelling is made ready in heaven. and so with angels and arc angels and thrones and dominions and with all the hosts and powers of heaven we sing the
>> you are indeed holy oh lord and all you have created rightly gives you praise. for through your son our lord jesus christ that the power and working of the holy spirit you gave life to all things. and made them holy. and you never cease to gather a people to yourself so that from the rising of the sun to its setting a pure sacrifice may be offered to your name. therefore, oh lord we humbly implore you, by the same spirit graciously make holy these gifts we have brought to you for consecration. so that they may become the body and blood of your son, our lord jesus christ at whose command we celebrate these mysteries. for on the night he was
betrayed he himself took bread, and giving you thanks he said the blessing broke the bread and gave it to his disciples, saying -- take this all of you, and eat of it. for this is my body which will be given up for you. >> in a similar way, when supper was ended, he took the chalice, and giving you thanks he said the blessing and gave the chalice to his disciple saying take this all of you and drink from it for this is the chalice of my blood, the blood of the new and eternal covenant. which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. do this in memory of me.
of your church recognizing the sacrificial victim by whose death, you will reconcile us to yourself. grant that we are nourished by the body and blood of your son, may be filled with his holy spirit. and become one body one spirit in christ. may he make of us an eternal offering to you, so that we may obtain an inheritance, especially with the most blessed virgin mary mother of god, with your blessed apostles and glorious martyrs, with anthony and all the saints on whose constant intercession in your presence we rely for daily help. may this sacrifice of our reconciliation we pray oh lord advance the peace and salvation of all the world. please to confirm in faith and charity your pilgrim church on earth with your servant, francis, our pope francis our
bishop the order of bishops, all the clergy and the entire people you have gained for your own. remember your servant, beau whom you have called from this world to yourself. grant that he is united with your son, to a death like his. may he also be one with him in his rest election. resurrection. when from the earth he will race up the flesh, in the flesh, those who have died and transform our lowly body after the pattern of his own glorious body. to our departed brothers and sisters, too, and to all who are pleasing to you in their passing from this life give kind admittance in your kingdom. there we hope to enjoy forever, the fullness of your glory. when you will wipe away every tear from our eyes. for seeing you, our god, as you
are, we shall be like you, for all the ages and praise you without end, through christ our lord to whom you bestow on the world all that is good. through him, and with him and in him, oh god almighty father in the unity of the holy spirit all glory and honor is yours, forever and ever. ♪ amen ♪ ♪ amen ♪ ♪ amen ♪ ♪
let us pray now as the lord himself taught us. our father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name. thy kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses. as we forgive those who trespass against us. and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. deliver us oh lord we pray from every evil. graciously grant peace in our days. that by the help of your mercy, we may be always free from sin and safe from all distress. as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our savior jesus christ. for the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and forever. lord jesus christ you said to
your apostles peace i leave you. my peace i give you. look not on our sins but on the faith of your church and graciously grant her peace and unity in accordance with your will. who live and reign forever and ever amen. peace of the lord be always with you. >> and with your spirit. >> let's share with one another the sign of the lord's peace.
shall be healed. >> for commune there will be stations in the front of the church in the middle and in the back. if you wish to receive communion, please come forward through the central aisle and return to your seats by the side aisles. if you do not wish to receive communion, but would like to receive a blessing which we greatly encourage, please come forward with your hands folded ott your chest to receive the blessing.
♪ but now am found ♪ ♪ was blind ♪ ♪ but now i see ♪ >> you're watching the funeral service for beau biden, the son of vice president joe biden. beau passed away age 30th at the age of 46 after battling brain cancer. the service is going into the delivery of communion now. so it's a moment where we can talk with some guests who are with us and joining me allen lichtman presidential historian and distinguished professor at american university. cnn senior political analyst, ron brownstein the editorial director of the "national journal" in washington and larry sabato the director of the center for politics at the university in virginia in charlottesville. ron, let me start with you. i take it with the president who will be delivering the eulogy. this becomes much more than just
a delaware event. it is a national moment. >> yeah. and i think it has been. i mean i am struck by the reaction of the story and it's partly because i think everybody who knew him felt that beau biden was a very admirable and warm person. think there are two other things that have elevated attention on this. one is that he was someone, he grew up the son of a senator and that opened certain doors for you in life. but he was someone who seemed very determined to make it on his own and to make his own way. he served in iraq at a time when we could say that about very few children of members of congress and when his father's seat was opened after he was elected vice president, he chose not to run for the senate. to finish his work in delaware in the attorney general's office. and the other thing i would say partially this is about joe biden. as many viewers know he was elected to the senate very young. and in the interim between his election and his swearing in his wife and young infant daughter were killed tragically in a car accident and he spent years after that in the senate commuting home every night, to
delaware you know before there were helicopter parents, he was a railroad parent. raising these two young boys. to see this kind of loss after that kind of dedication think this is partially about respect for him. as really one of the last happy warriors we have in our political system. >> larry, let me ask you this how do you think this is likely to affect joe biden as vice president going forward? >> well most people doubt that he's going to run for president. i can't imagine this event would make it more likely. it could possibly make it less likely. but i think it does as ron is saying put emphasis and a spotlight on the relationship between the obamas and the bidens they've actually grown quite close, i think it's a closer relationship than usually exists. a personal relationship between the presidential family and the vice presidential family. and obama and biden work very
well together over the past six years. that isn't always true in our history. it hasn't been true in recent history in several circumstances. so it's a tragic event, it's a horrible event, somebody so young and with so much promise would die. but there may be some slight positive in this horrible negative. >> there was evidence of that closeness clearly just before commune there, as you saw the president and vice president embrace. and you are struck by the fact that these are two men from very different back grounds, who have grown very very close. because of the service that they have had to their country and to one another. i wanted to ask allen -- as we look at this how does this sort of add to the country's historical story? >> this is an extraordinary historical story. it's been more than 50 years since a sitting president or vice president have experienced
the death of a child. and that was john f. kennedy with a premature child who was just a few days old. so this is an unusual event. but it's not without precedent. we could go back to the administration of calvin coolidge whose son died at the age of 16 in 1924 while coolidge was in office. and a completely changed the coolidge presidency. he became many historians believe, clinically depressed. he became detached from his office. he himself said the power and glory of the presidency had gone away with the death of his son. and that may well have contributed to presidential inaction as the country was lumping toward the great depression of 1929. and of course abraham lincoln experienced the death of his 11-year-old son, willie in 1862 early in the civil war. when the outcome was very
uncertain. this death drove his wife mary todd nearly to madness. and many believe deepened lincoln's resolve to pursue this war to a necessary end. no matter what the price to pay or no matter what the sacrifices were to be made. >> so the death of children of occupants of the white house have had profound historical significance in the united states. i don't think this event is quite at that level, because we're talking about a vice president not a president, but i think it will steal joe biden to make the most of his last years as vice president. to make as much of a contribution as he possibly can. and for all of us it reminds us no matter what height you reach, the presidency the vice presidency you are subject to the same afflictions, the same tragedies, that affect every person upon this earth.
>> it's very true. ron, i wanted to ask you beau biden himself, had a trajectory in politics that was looking extremely promising. where do we think that could have led. >> well i think the expectation was that he was going to run for governor of delaware as i said he chose not to run for the senate when his father's seat opened after he became vice president. but i think the expectation was he was going to run for the governor of delaware. this is a democratic party that has kind of a generation gap. they really do not have a lot of younger leaders who are kind of that next generation. you look at hillary clinton as the front-runner you know as president, has been a national eye for two decades. so he was someone as governor of delaware who knows, if he would have been elected there. he certainly would have been a favorite in such a democratic-leaning state. who knows what else might have been in his future with that background. but the most immediate step is
the expectation that he would have run and probably been elected as governor of delaware. >> and the biden family name is iconic in the state of delaware. >> absolutely. and ron is correct. i think that beau biden would have been the next governor of delaware. delaware has become a heavily democratic state. and you know given our somewhat liking of dynasty as we're seeing in the 2016 race i suspect that beau biden would have had a national career beyond delaware. so for him to die at the age of 46, same age that president kennedy was when he passed away is doubly tragic. >> i am struck by the fact that obviously the biden family has been visited by tragedy as we've already mentioned before. and it is always seemed that vice president joe biden has had a particular strength when it comes to assisting others. in times of grief. and then it's just the official job it seems also of the vice
president. to attend so many funerals. but now, it is a funeral in which he is so deeply involved and so deeply grieving. it's just the turn-about that is quite remarkable. >> well i think you could see it from the video we saw as he was walking in. i mean just i think everyone saw the enormous grief that he was confronting at that moment. and you're right, i mean this is someone who in many ways has emotions of invisible on his sleeve throughout his political career. i've covered him since first presidential run in the 1980s. and you know this is someone you never really have to look very hard to see what he's thinking or feeling. i think it was very much and very painfully on display at that moment. >> allen, as you look at this and we note this is an event that now transcends political lives, there's no one talking politics at this particular
time. is that usually the case in these tragic situations? >> absolutely. this is a human tragedy with which all of us can identify. none of us really want to outlive the lives of our children. and we can all feel the pain of joe biden and joe biden's family. and we don't need to put this in the context of partisanship. i think maybe this shows you know our common humanity. above and beyond all of the ideological and partisan bickering that we so unfortunately see in the capitol today. and many many this tragic event will have some effect on our political system. maybe in some small way it will soften the acrimony maybe in some small way it will dampen the controversy and make us see how much we do have in common
how much we do share and perhaps this could help the two contending sides find common ground. sometimes out of tragedy, some very good things can develop. >> larry, we mentioned the fact that of course the president is going to be among those who will deliver a eulogy. we've talked about the closeness between the vice president and the president. practice is it that is so unique in their particular relationship? and how did it come to be? >> in politics president obama tends to be more rational cool in his interpretation of events. vice president biden is much more emotional. sympathetic and empathetic with people. it's a nice combination. i think they both have recognized what the other brings. to their own strengths. so over the years, while it got
off to a rocky start a bit. back in the 2008 campaign their relationship has grown much stronger. i've been told that the wives are also good friends. and so they've come to know each other as people and as families. and that makes this a personal tragedy for president and mrs. obama as well. i'm sure president obama will give a powerful speech, probably a very emotional one. >> and we'll just take a moment to continue to listen to the beautiful choir here. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
ber and celebrate the life and accomplishments of beau biden. a father a husband, a son, a friend a leader a soldier, and a patriot. a life much too short, but a life that had incredible meaning and a life that left an indelible mark on all of us. beau's family was the center of his life. and he always put them first. halle his loving wife son and daughter hunter natalie, his
president, vice president, joe biden, dr. jill biden, hunter his sister ashley, and all of the biden family i know how much he loved you so dearly. i know this is an exceptionally difficult time for a family. and words cannot express the sorrow linda and i have for the loss of beau. but as i look out across the audience gathered here today, i reflect on the impact beau's life has had on all of us all across the nation in particular the state of delaware throughout the united states army and most of all, his family friends, and colleagues. i want to start off by talking about beau biden, the soldier. it was in iraq where i had the incredible army to serve beside
him and really get to know him. it's sometimes hard to explain to others about the bond formed between soldiers in combat the shared commitment to mission, the unspoken reliance on each other, the indefinable trust that is forged. it is a brotherhood that only a few understand. i have always believed that an individual's character defines them as a person. and a man's character is truly revealed under the most extreme and stressful conditions. i was able to witness firsthand beau's incredible character. one principle with deep moral and ethical roots. he understood the importance of maintaining trust with his fellow soldiers and with the